What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

“It is written: He who makes the best egg salad shall rule the heaven and earth.”

Synopsis:
Dubbed Japanese spies will do anything to find a secret egg salad recipe.

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Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, the novelty of this one-joke spy spoof by Woody Allen — in which he “appears at the beginning to explain that he has taken a Japanese spy film, Kagi no Kag, and had American actors dub all the dialogue with absurd comedy” — “wears off long before the end”, but it still makes for fun watching. Peary argues that “the film footage is wild to begin with”, and thus “the ridiculous inserted dialogue works”. Naturally, not all the dubbed lines work, but a surprising majority are hilarious, and lovers of Allen’s left-field non-sequitors will be especially thrilled. Just for kicks, Peary recommends “substituting your own silly lines to see if they better Allen’s” (!).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Cool opening credits
    Opening Credits
  • A woman seductively asking her lover to “name three presidents”
    Presidents
  • Woody Allen simply responding “No” when an interviewer asks him to clarify what has happened so far in the movie
    No

Must See?
Yes. As Woody Allen’s first feature film, it’s worth watching for historical purposes alone, and you’re guaranteed at least a few chuckles.

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2 Responses to “What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)”

  1. This one was released on Image dvd, and those things never quite work right with my Toshiba. Lots of pixelation, as if the disc was scratched, though this occurs even with a brand new disc. This film is pretty funny, but I would like to know where I could obtain the original film. Btw, Cool site you’ve got here.

  2. Yes, a must. It has held up surprisingly well – and the “Name 3 Presidents.” sequence is a particular fave.

    As is: “Yeah, get the dynamite. And could you also bring me a regular coffee – (cough, cough) and a toasted corn muffin?”

    This movie could very well have been the main inspiration for MST3K.

    And a word about the Japanese actor playing the lead: Tatsuya Mihashi (who passed away in 2004). He was a fave throughout the years I lived in Japan, watching countless Japanese films. Kind of a hunk, really – and equally adept at comedy (as witness this film) and drama. Obviously, many films he appeared in never made it over here – including Ichikawa’s terrific ‘Kokoro’. But American ffs may know him from Kurosawa’s ‘The Bad Sleep Well’ and ‘High and Low’. Whoever did his voice for ‘WU,TL?’ did a great job; appropriately enough, Mihashi almost seems to be in on the joke.

    As nice as it is to see The Lovin’ Spoonful, including them intermittently (cause they were hot at the time) proves a mistake on the part of the producer. Just takes away from the film.

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